Pork Bellies

It all started on the night Open Air opened. 

I got home a little later than expected, Lori and I grabbed our cameras and headed out towards the parkway.   I strategized that since the placement of Open Air was along the Benji Franklin Parkway in between Swann Memorial Fountain and the Art Museum we should place ourselves at the fountain and shoot with the Art Museum in the background.  Well shit, my logic didn’t account for the amount of light pollution from the fountain area.  Even though the street lights were out on the BFP we could barely see the search lights.  So we pulled up our tripods and headed closer to the Art Museum.  There, while waiting for the start of the installation, our stomachs told us we hadn’t eaten yet, there were several food trucks with long lines, no desire waiting for food, we noticed one on the end that had a minimal line, Local 215.  We reluctantly looked at the menu:  Pork Bellies and Crispy Polenta.  We looked longingly at the other trucks and their growing lines, shrugged and said to each other we always wanted to try pork bellies.  Within 5 minutes we were sitting on the curb eating the melt in your mouth savory pork bellies and the crispiest polenta with delicious bitter greens.  We glanced at each other and mumbling agreed we must learn how to make this.

After several days of research via the Interwebs, we headed to 9th st, to snag some pork bellies.  First stop Esposito’s, they had bellies but we needed to buy 15 lbs worth.  After a little banter back and forth I was pulled aside and advised to check out Cannuli’s Prime Meats. 

They had pork bellies and much more.  The bellies arrive on Fridays fresh and then are frozen, since we were in on a saturday frozen it was.  They sawed off 4 pounds worth.  We bought some onions and other veggies after we left and stopped at DiBruno’s for Polenta and some Reggianno.

Put the bellies in the fridge to thaw for 24 hours when we got home.  We weren’t sure if this would be enough time, but all was good by sunday afternoon

Soon as the slab was thawed we made the marinade.  In the processor we combined lemon zest, rosemary, olive oil, salt, garlic and thyme.  Huge bush growing out front makes fresh rosemary quite convenient.


Scored the skin just enough to break the skin but not go all the way through the fat layer:


Poured boiling water over the scored skin:


“Rub the lotion on it’s skin” or apply marinade and refrigerate:


Added four cups of white wine:


Cooked at 425 for 45 min, dropped to 350 for an hour and added onions:


Roasted at 350 for another hour:


Made polenta several hours earlier:


After chilling in the fridge we cut the polenta:

Fried polenta in olive oil until desired crispness:

Made gravy from remaining pork drippings and onions, simple rue and some chicken stock:

Sliced the belly:




  1. This looks delicious! Bonnie and I are going to have to try this. And we’ve turned vegetarian!

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